Becoming a Chorister

Please note that these pages are yet to be updated to reflect the College's recent announcement. From 2022, the College Choir is to feature male and female voices – both adults and children – in its world-renowned choir for the first time.

To have sung in the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge was to be offered a glimpse of absolutely everything that music making could be; passion, commitment and emotion on a daily basis. I was the youngest ever chorister, starting at the age of 7 and later a choral scholar. Without question I owe every musical fibre of my being to this choir

Iestyn Davies MBE (Chorister 1987-93, Choral Scholar 1999-2002)

The Choristers of St John’s College Choir are part of a centuries-old tradition with a vibrant modern present.  

  • The boys sing six services a week in the College Chapel during university terms, and tour the world twice a year, including recently the USA, China, Japan and throughout Europe.
  • A peerless musical education is just part of the Choristers’ experience - they all board among the 450 other pupils of the academically renowned St John’s College School described by the Good Schools Guide as ‘magically happy’. They live together in a homely boarding house from which they walk each day across the College grounds to the Chapel.  
  • The Choir is not required to sing during Holy Week, Easter or at Christmas and the Choristers are free for Half Terms from Sunday to Friday. 
  • All Choristers receive a bursary of two thirds of school fees, with no boy ever excluded from the Choir for reasons of finance.  Choristers go on routinely to win music and academic scholarships to leading senior schools.

Here's Matthew to give a taster of what it's like to experience a tour with the Choir:

St John's College School

The Choristers and Probationers are educated as boarders at St John's College School, winner of the national Best Prep School and Best Prep School Headmaster Awards. SJCS is a leading independent co-educational day and boarding school in Cambridge which offers an exceptional educational experience to children aged 4-13.

Chorister Cricket Match

St John's Choristers following the annual cricket match with the choristers at King's College

If you know a boy who loves to sing, a Choristership at St John’s could be the best possible start in life for him.  

Director of Music, Andrew Nethsingha, is always happy to hear from parents or guardians of any boy aged six+ who is enthusiastic about singing.  He need not play an instrument or have any formal training, in the right boy, potential is more than enough.  

There is more information on what it means to be a Chorister, and on what an audition would entail in this Chorister Handbook.

Choristers in the snow

The boys enjoying the snow on the Backs at St John's College

Forthcoming Voice Trial dates will be available here soon.

If you would like to discuss things further, Emma Luck at St John's College School is always pleased to talk to parents of prospective Choristers on 01223 353652 admissions@sjcs.co.uk

St John's College School, 75 Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AA
Telephone: 01223 353 652
Website: www.sjcs.co.uk  

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Latest webcast

Recorded on
20 November 2021
  • Responses and Preces: Rose
  • Psalm 104 vv.1-10 (tone iii)
  • Readings: Genesis 45.1-15, John 20.19-23
  • Kennedy (Worcester Service)
  • Biebl: Ave Maria
  • Voluntary: Franck Choral no.1 in E major

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